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Few are surprised by web innovation. One of the latest things which is set to zoom is crowd-sourcing. This is the channeling of the pooled wisdom of many people sharing ideas, coming up with new solutions: brainstorming by crowd.

Before he presented the last British Budget (March 2011), Chancellor George Osborne invited anybody to log on to his portal to offer suggestions for new tax laws. It naturally follows universal networking. If people log on to grumble, moan and gossip, they’ll readily share thoughts on tough matters, too.

For a decade or more now, Web 2.0 has been absorbed as a web platform, so that now it is web democracy. Wikipedia and imitators are examples of mass people-creativity. Indeed, it’s web content itself that determines what people read and make news, rather than old fashioned media outlets.

People Power

It’s people power that sells individual tracks rather than entire albums; that wants more free stuff, that wants to eat, travel, holiday, work online. Nokia, for example, in 2010 held a Make My App competition which attracted 8000 ideas. They employ 60,000, but 4 million people give them thoughts through the Nokia Forum. Other major companies are latching on and benefiting from free think-tank, blue-sky thinking.

Not to be outdone, the world of politics is catching on fast. While focus-groups have traditionally been sounding boards of people confined to the same room, now with crowd-sourcing, groups inputting new policy ideas are limitless, global and 24/7. Almost anyone can now put up ideas (both negative and constructive) to all parties and know they will have an impact of some sort.

And from the arts, for instance, James Patterson published Airborne in 2009, a crime novel, crowd-written (28 different authors) between his first and final chapters. This took collaborative writing to a new level. Everybody can contribute now to a best-seller.
A year before, the Daily Telegraph published Corduroy Mansions, a series of novels written by the public from characters and settings Alexander McCall Smith had preset. Daily extracts in print, website, podcast and hardback were all successful.

Imogen Heap recorded Heapsong1, inspired by the Japanese tsunami, from sounds and words uploaded by fans. Coca-Cola, Maroon5 and Facebook made a song in 24 hours from live webstream provided by the online public. It’s just like modern mashing of audiences suggesting to performers, fusing instruments and genres, except it’s not in a concert arena, it’s on screens in every home and continuously.

It can only get bigger and more widespread in use and application. Until something new comes along!